An afternoon packed NHL action is a tough act to follow, in terms of lazing on the couch that is.  Thanks, Monday.  There’s just two games in the NHL this evening, but they’re not light on intrigue.

Colorado vs. Detroit  7:30 PM ET

Twas once the fiercest rivalry in hockey.  Now it’s a battle between veterans and the kids.  Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock has a fresh contract extension and the club learned today that defenseman Brian Rafalski will require arthroscopic knee surgery.  In addition, it was announced today that Kirk Maltby will retire.  The four time Stanley Cup Champion will remain with the organization as a scout.

The Avalanche will have Peter Budaj in goal tonight, giving Craig Anderson an early rest.  The Avs will be in tough to shutdown the surging Red Wings.  Detroit has outscored its opponents by five goals 7-2 in their first two games.  Emotions will be high at the Joe Louis Arena, Budaj could very well get pumped full of holes tonight.

Atlanta vs. Los Angeles  10:30 PM ET

The Kings have had great goaltending in their first two contests, but the shooters haven’t found the net nearly enough yet.  Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar, Ryan Smyth, and Alexei Ponikarovsky have zero goals between them, and you can bet each is feeling like pulling the trigger a little more often against an adjusting Thrashers’ team.

Atlanta’s defense has let a lot of pucks find their way on goal in two contests.  Chris Mason hasn’t been his sharpest playing in all but two minutes of action thus far.  New additions Andrew Ladd and Ben Eager have played well early, but the Thrashers are going to need a better offensive effort from their centres to match the Kings’ big guns.  Two young teams looking to build some early momentum could make for the game of the night.